Sunday, July 10, 2011

By Farr and Farr Rising

When Gary Farr left Bannockburn, he started his own label by Farr with fruit from a vineyard nearby (Geelong area). The vineyard is on limestone soil, which the Farrs regard as crucial for making Burgundian style wines. A bit later, his son Nick started Farr Rising. Today, Gary Farr is retired, but both labels are continued by Nick Farr. The fruit comes from different blocks of the same vineyard, and the winemaking techniques are somewhat different. The main focus is on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The wines are made in a European style.

In a tasting of newly released Chardonnay and Pinot Noir I could compare these wines. The result was anything but expected, namely slightly more forward fruit in the Farr Rising wines and very savoury and somewhat funky wines under the by Farr label.

The first wine was the 2009 Farr Rising Chardonnay. This wine comes from the difficult and very hot vintage in Victoria, and Farr picked only half the fruit. The western side of the bunches was not picked because of the shriveled nature of the grapes from the afternoon sun. This wine showed citrus, but also peach and gave quite a creamy mouthfeel despite the acidity which was clearly noticeable. I liked this wine a lot, as it is different from the current trend towards crispy Chardonnay, without being buttery at all. Having said this, the finish was a little plump.

Score: 94/+++

The 2008 By Farr Chardonnay was fresher and more linear, with a nice finish, but it lacked the unique character of the first wine.

Score: 92/+

The 2009 Farr Rising Geelong Pinot Noir was savoury as expected, with earthy and smoky (not from the fires) characteristics. There was tobacco, too. It tasted young, elegant and fresh, but fell off at the finish.

Score: 92/+

The outstanding feature of the 2008 By Farr Farrside Pinot Noir was the beautiful vibrancy of the fruit. Brilliant strawberry and raspberry flavours flow through the palate, with a bigger mouthfeel than the previous wine, and a good length, dry finish. This is quite exceptional.

Score: 95/++

Overall, these wines are highly individualistic. They are all attractive and I recommend you should try them. If 'length of finish' is important to you, you should go for the by Farr wines.

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